Equal marriage
What the government says
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Contents
What the Minister for Women and Equalities says . . . . . . . . . . . 6
About the replies in a few words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
About the consultation and the law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Religious marriages for same-sex couples . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Civil partnerships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Changing civil partnerships to marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Transgender people . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Other things to think about . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
What will happen next . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
About the replies in full . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
What the law says . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
What we asked in the consultation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
The replies to the consultation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Civil marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples . . . . . . . . . . . 20
What we asked in the consultation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
What people said . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
What the government says . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
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Government Equalities Office
Religious marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples . . . . . . 23
What we asked in the consultation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
What people said . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
What the government says . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Civil partnerships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
What we asked in the consultation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
What people said . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
What the government says . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Changing civil partnerships to marriage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
What we asked in the consultation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
What people said . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Question 9 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Question 10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Question 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
What the government says . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
What we asked in the consultation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
What people said . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
What the government says . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Transgender people . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
What we asked in the consultation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
What people said . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Question 12 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Question 13 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
What the government says . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Other things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
The way marriages and civil partnerships will
be carried out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Devolved government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Ending a marriage or civil partnership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
Other countries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Pensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
The words we use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Free speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Learning in schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Parents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Words list . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
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Government Equalities Office
What the Minister for Women
and Equalities says
Marriage is very important. The rule that says 2 people make
promises to each other when they get married holds families
together over the years. It also makes our society strong.
Society
Society means all the people and all parts of life in this
country. Being part of society can mean being accepted
and having your views listened to. It can mean being
able to live where you want, vote for a government, or
join a group. When people are accepted by others this
makes a good society.
Marriage has changed over the years. At the moment anyone
over the age of 16 can get married. Unless you are in love with
someone of the same sex. This cannot be right.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
The government wants equal rights for everyone. This means it
cannot stop people from getting married unless there are very
good reasons.
Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not a good reason
to stop people getting married.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Lesbians are women who are attracted to other women.
Gay men are attracted to other men.
Bisexual people are attracted to men and to women.
Transgender people have changed their sex from being a man
to being a woman, or from being a woman to being a man.
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Government Equalities Office
Some people say this was put right when civil partnerships
began in 2005.
Civil partnerships or civil partners
This is when two men or two women are in love and make
promises to each other so that the law sees them as a couple.
Civil partnership is not the same as marriage, but civil partners
get many of the same rights as married people.
This was an important step forward for same-sex couples.
But same-sex couples can still not get married.
Same-sex couple
This is when two men or two women are in love with
each other.
We do not want to change the way religious groups treat
marriages.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
We want to keep civil partnerships for same-sex couples who
do not want to be married.
The government is going to bring in new laws about marriage
for same-sex couples. We will talk about these new laws in
Parliament.
Parliament
Parliament is where politicians, who are also called Members
of Parliament or MPs, meet to decide rules and laws, and make
decisions for the country. It is not the same as government,
which runs the country.
We will keep meeting with and talking to people who are
interested in the new laws.
Maria Miller MP
Minister for Women and Equalities
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Government Equalities Office
About the replies in a few words
When this booklet says ‘we’ or ‘us’ it means the government.
In March 2012 we began a consultation. The consultation
asked for ideas about how we can give same-sex couples
an equal right to get married.
Consultation
This is when the government asks what people think about
its plans, and for ideas about the best way of doing things.
The consultation ended on 14 June 2012. We had more than
228,000 replies to the consultation. This is the most replies
we have ever had to a consultation.
We also got 19 lists signed by 500,000 people who do not want
same-sex couples to be able to have a civil marriage. These
lists are called petitions.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Civil marriages
These are marriages that are not made in a religious building.
A lot of people said that they did not want same-sex couples
to be able to get married.
But most people said that letting same-sex couples get
married was a good idea.
So we want to let same-sex couples have a civil marriage.
About the consultation and the law
In the consultation we made it clear that no religious group
would be made to carry out marriages for same-sex couples.
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Government Equalities Office
We have looked at all the replies we got to the consultation and
have come up with four extra points. These four points make it
clear where we stand on marriages for same-sex couples.
We will protect religions.
1.We will make sure that the law says that no religious group
can be made to marry same-sex couples. And they cannot
be made to carry out marriages in their religious buildings.
2.If religious groups tell us that they want to marry same-sex
couples then they will be allowed to do this.
3.We will change the Equality Act 2010. This means that
religious groups who will not marry same-sex couples or let
their buildings be used for same-sex marriages cannot be
said to be discriminating against same-sex couples.
Equality Act 2010
This is a law to make sure that all people are treated fairly
and equally.
Discrimination
This is when someone is treated unfairly because of
something. People are sometimes discriminated against
because of their age, because of the colour of their skin,
or because they have a disability.
4.We will make sure that the law will not affect the way the
Church of England and the Church in Wales are run.
We will carry on talking to religious groups as we get ready
to make the new laws.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Religious marriages for same-sex couples
In the consultation we said that same-sex couples will not
be able to have a religious marriage.
Religious marriages
These are marriages that are made in a religious building.
Most people said that religious groups should be able to carry
out religious marriages if they want to.
We want to let religious groups who do want to carry out
religious marriages for same-sex couples do so. But we want
to make it clear that they do not have to do this if they do not
want to.
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Government Equalities Office
It will be against the law for same-sex couples to get married
in a religious building if the religious group does not allow
same-sex couples to get married.
Civil partnerships
Most people who replied to the consultation and also the
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups we talked
to said that opposite-sex couples should be able to become
civil partners.
Opposite-sex couple
This is when a man and a woman are in love with each other.
We do not think that opposite-sex couples need civil
partnerships. They can get married if they want to.
So we will have civil partnerships only for same-sex couples.
Changing civil partnerships to marriage
We know that 50,000 couples have become civil partners since
2005. Some of these couples would have got married if they
had been able to do so.
Most people who replied to this question in the consultation
said that there should be a way to turn civil partnerships into
marriages.
We spoke to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups
who also said this was a good idea.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
We are going to let same-sex couples change their civil
partnerships to marriage if they want to do this. There will
not be a time limit for doing this.
Transgender people
If a person wants a new birth certificate because their sex
is different from when they were born, the law says that
they must get a gender recognition certificate.
Gender recognition certificate
This is a certificate from a group of experts called a gender
recognition panel. The certificate says a person’s sex is different
from when they were born. The person uses this to get
a new birth certificate showing their new details.
As things are now, married people and civil partners must end
their marriage or civil partnership before they can get a full
gender recognition certificate.
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Government Equalities Office
This is because
• the law says same-sex couples cannot be married.
• the law says opposite-sex couples cannot be civil partners.
This can cause a lot of upset for transsexual people and
their partners. Especially those who want to stay together as
married or civil partners. It also causes problems with pension
and benefit records.
Transsexual people
These are people who feel they were born the wrong sex.
Such as someone who feels like they are a woman but they
were born as a boy, or someone who feels like they are a
man but they were born as a girl.
Most people who replied to this question in the consultation
agreed with our plan to change the law so that people’s sex
could become different from when they were born and those
people could stay married.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Other things to think about
At the moment, the state pension has different rules for men
and women.
State pension
This is money most people get when they retire. It is paid out
of money they pay to the government during their working life.
When civil partnerships started in 2005, the Department for
Work and Pensions decided to treat all civil partners as married
men when they were working out the state pension.
We are going to treat same-sex couples in the same way as
civil partners and married men.
What will happen next
We want to make these laws as soon as possible. We are trying
to start this before Parliament finishes this term in May 2013.
We are working closely with all groups who have an interest in
these plans.
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Government Equalities Office
About the replies in full
What the law says
At the moment the law says that only a man and a woman
can get married. Same-sex couples cannot be married.
In 2005 civil partnerships began. From December 2011 civil
partnerships can take place in religious buildings.
What we asked in the consultation
We asked 16 questions about things like
• how same-sex couples could have a civil marriage ceremony?
Ceremony
This is an event where a group of people get together to enjoy
something special, such as a marriage. People often say special
words at a ceremony.
• if same-sex couples should be able to have a religious
marriage ceremony?
• if we should keep civil partnerships just for same-sex
couples?
• how civil partnerships can be changed into marriages?
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Equal marriage – What the government says
• if people’s sex becomes different from when they were born
should they be able to stay married?
• what effect these changes would have on other things, like
pensions?
The replies to the consultation
We got more than 228,000 replies to the consultation.
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Government Equalities Office
Civil marriage ceremonies for
same-sex couples
Marriage is about 2 people who love each other making
promises to each other.
We do not think it makes any difference if the promises are
made by opposite-sex couples or same-sex couples.
What we asked in the consultation
We wanted to find out how we could let same-sex couples
have a civil marriage ceremony.
We asked people to tell us if they thought same-sex couples
and opposite-sex couples should have an equal right to a civil
marriage. We also asked people to give us the reasons for their
answer.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
What people said
We had more replies to these questions than any other
question in the consultation.
• 53 out of every 100 people who replied said that same-sex
couples should be able to have a civil marriage.
• 46 out of every 100 people who replied said that same-sex
couples should not be able to have a civil marriage.
• 1 out of every 100 people who replied said they did not know
or they were not sure if same-sex couples should be able to
have a civil marriage.
We also got 19 lists signed by 500,000 people who do not want
same-sex couples to be able to have a civil marriage. These
lists are called petitions.
The people who thought that same-sex couples should be able
to have a civil marriage said these things.
• Civil marriage for same-sex couples will be a big step forward
in our society.
• There are too many differences between marriage and civil
partnerships. This means that some people try to upset
same-sex couples by saying things like they are not really
married and they are only civil partners.
• It will give equality to same-sex couples. Civil marriage
is part of the human rights of same-sex couples.
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Government Equalities Office
Equality
This means having the same chances in life as everyone else.
• Letting same-sex couples get married would be good for
society. It would also help to change the way people think
and act towards same-sex couples.
The people who think that same-sex couples should not be
able to have a civil marriage said these things.
• Marriage is for opposite-sex couples not same-sex couples.
• Civil partnerships are enough for same-sex couples. There is
no need to allow same-sex couples to get married.
• Letting same-sex couples get married would be bad for
society. It would send out the wrong message to children.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
• It would have a bad effect on all people’s marriages.
• It is against equality. It is for lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people, but against people of a religious faith.
What the government says
We know that people think strongly about this.
We have looked at all the replies and we think that same-sex
couples should be able to have a civil marriage
Religious marriage ceremonies
for same-sex couples
Religion is a very important part of our society.
We know that many religious people are worried about letting
same-sex couples get married.
Religious marriage ceremonies can be carried out in many
ways.
• The Church of England or the Church in Wales can do
marriages
• The Quakers, also called the Society of Friends, can do
marriages
• The Jewish religion can do marriages
• A registrar can do marriages in many places.
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Government Equalities Office
Registrar
This is someone the law allows to make civil marriages.
Registrars can make civil marriages in register offices,
approved places like hotels, in a person’s home or in
hospital if they are very ill, or in a prison.
What we asked in the consultation
We asked people to tell us if they agreed with us that same-sex
couples should not be able to have a religious marriage.
We made it clear that we would not make the Church of
England or the Church in Wales carry out same-sex marriages.
We know that the holy books of many religions say that
marriage can only be between a man and a woman. We do
not want to change people’s religious beliefs and guidance.
We will make sure that the law allows people to talk about
their belief that marriage should only be between a man and
a woman.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
What people said
Most people who answered this question said that same-sex
couples should be allowed to have a religious marriage.
• 63 out of every 100 people who replied said that same-sex
couples should be able to have a religious marriage.
• 27 out of every 100 people who replied said that same-sex
couples should not be able to have a religious marriage.
• 10 out of every 100 people who replied did not know if samesex couples should be able to have a religious marriage.
Some religious groups said they wanted to carry out religious
marriages for same-sex couples.
Other groups said that each place of worship or each religious
group should be able to choose if they wanted to carry out
religious marriages for same-sex couples.
A few people said that all religious groups should be made
to carry out religious marriages for same-sex couples.
The people who said that same-sex couples should not be
allowed to have a religious marriage said that they were
worried that religious groups could be made to carry out
religious marriages for same-sex couples even if they do
not agree with it.
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Government Equalities Office
What the government says
We know and respect the important part that religion plays
in society.
We know there are many lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender people who are religious. We also know that many
religious people agree with letting same-sex couples have a
religious marriage in their place of worship.
We have looked at all the replies we got. We think that once
same-sex couples can get married, religious groups should
be allowed to carry out religious marriage ceremonies if they
want to.
We will keep working with religious groups who want to
marry same-sex couples as we work out the rules to make
this happen.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
We will protect religious groups who do not want to marry
same-sex couples.
• The law will say that religious groups cannot be made to
marry same-sex couples. And they cannot be made to let
same-sex couples use their buildings to get married in.
• It will be against the law for a member of a religious group
to marry same-sex couples unless the religious group it
agrees to do so. And the religious group must follow the
rules we will make when we change the law.
These 2 points will make sure that people cannot take action
against a religious group if they do not agree to marry samesex couples.
We will change the Equality Act 2010 so that people cannot
say that a religious group discriminated against them because
it would not marry them or let them use a religious building to
get married in.
The Church of England and the Church in Wales will not be
affected by the new law.
We know there is still a lot of work to be done to make sure the
law works properly.
We need to make sure that we can let religious groups marry
same-sex couples if they want to. We also need to make sure
that religious groups who do not want to carry out religious
marriages for same-sex couples are protected.
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Government Equalities Office
Civil partnerships
When civil partnerships began in 2005 it was an important step
forward for same-sex couples. It changed things so that the
law treated their promises to each other in the same way as
the promises made by opposite-sex couples.
• For the first time, same-sex couples could have the same
rights, protection and duties as other couples.
• Since 2005 there have been more than 50,000 civil
partnerships.
• Opposite-sex couples cannot become civil partners.
• Different laws apply to civil partnerships and marriages.
From December 2011 same-sex couples were allowed to
register their civil partnership in religious buildings. This can
only happen when the religious group agrees to do this and
the signing of the civil partnership must not be religious.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
What we asked in the consultation
In the consultation we said that we wanted to keep civil
partnerships for same-sex couples.
This includes letting civil partnerships take place in religious
buildings.
We asked if people thought we should keep civil partnerships
once same-sex couples were allowed to get married.
What people said
Most people agreed that we should keep civil partnerships
once same-sex couples were allowed to get married.
• 66 out of every 100 people who replied said that we should
keep civil partnerships once same-sex couples were allowed
to get married.
• 20 out of every 100 people who replied said that we should
not keep civil partnerships once same-sex couples were
allowed to get married.
• 14 out of every 100 people who replied said they did not
know or were not sure if we should keep civil partnerships
once same-sex couples were allowed to get married.
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Government Equalities Office
Those people who did not want us to keep civil partnerships
came up with 2 reasons.
• Some people did not agree with the idea of civil partnerships.
• Some people said that once same-sex couples could get
married there would be no need for civil partnerships.
This would make all married couples equal.
What the government says
We have looked at all the replies.
We want to keep civil partnerships for same-sex couples only.
We also want to carry on letting same-sex couples register
their civil partnership in religious buildings.
We think that civil partnerships play an important part in the
lives of many couples. We do not think there is any good reason
to stop them.
This consultation was always about letting same-sex couples
get married. There is no need to get rid of civil partnerships for
same-sex marriages to happen.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Changing civil partnerships to
marriage
We know that if same-sex couples had been allowed to get
married, some of them would have got married instead of
getting a civil partnership.
For this reason we want to allow same-sex couples to change
their civil partnership to a marriage if they want to.
This would also be important to couples in a civil partnership
when one person would be asking for a gender recognition
certificate because their sex was different from when they
were born.
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Government Equalities Office
What we asked in the consultation
In the consultation we asked 3 questions about this.
• Question 9. If you are a civil partner would you want to
change your civil partnership into a marriage?
• Question 10. Do you agree or disagree that there should be
no time limit on changing a civil partnership into a marriage?
• Question 11. Do you agree or disagree that same-sex couples
should be able to choose to have a ceremony when they
change their civil partnership into a marriage?
What people said
Question 9
For the question that asked if you are a civil partner would you
want to change your civil partnership into a marriage?
• 87 out of every 100 people who replied said they would
change their civil partnership into a marriage.
• 6 out of every 100 people who replied said they would not
change their civil partnership into a marriage.
• 8 out of every 100 people who replied said they did not know
or were not sure if they would change their civil partnership
into a marriage.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
The number of people who replied to this question gives us
an idea of how many people would want to change their civil
partnership to a marriage.
We will think more about this and we will write about the best
way to do it when we show the new laws to Parliament.
Question 10
For the question that asked do you agree or disagree that there
should be no time limit on changing a civil partnership into a
marriage?
• 81 out of every 100 people who replied agreed that there
should be no time limit on changing a civil partnership into
a marriage.
• 7 out of every 100 people who replied did not agree that
there should be no time limit on changing a civil partnership
into a marriage.
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Government Equalities Office
• 12 out of every 100 people who replied said they did not
know or were not sure if there should be a time limit on
changing a civil partnership into a marriage.
Most people agreed with us that there should not be a time
limit for changing a civil partnership into a marriage.
Question 11
For the question that asked do you agree or disagree that
same-sex couples should be able to have the choice to have
a ceremony when they change their civil partnership into a
marriage?
• 81 out of every 100 people who replied agreed that there
should be a ceremony when same-sex couples change their
civil partnership into a marriage.
• 9 out of every 100 people who replied did not agree that
there should be a ceremony when same-sex couples change
their civil partnership into a marriage.
• 10 out of every 100 people who replied did not know or
were not sure if there should be a ceremony when same-sex
couples change their civil partnership into a marriage.
Most people agreed that same-sex couples should be able to
have a ceremony if they wanted one.
Some people said that the ceremony should not be part of
the law. They said the ceremony should be like the one that
opposite-sex couples use when they renew the promises they
made when they got married.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Some religious groups said that the ceremony could take
place in religious buildings if the religious groups that own
the buildings agree to this.
What the government says
We want to make sure that same-sex couples can change
their civil partnership into a marriage if they want to.
We also want to make sure that any same-sex couples who do
not want to change their civil partnership into a marriage are
not treated badly and do not lose any of their rights.
We will say more about changing a civil partnership into a
marriage at a later date.
But we think that people will only be able to change a civil
partnership to a marriage if they are in the country where the
civil partnership was made.
So, for example, if a civil partnership was made in Scotland or
Northern Ireland, the couple will not be able to change it to a
marriage in England or Wales.
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Government Equalities Office
We will look into what will happen if a civil partnership was
made in places like an army base or a British embassy in
another country.
We think it will cost about £100 to change a civil partnership
into a marriage. This is about the same as it costs an oppositesex couple to get married.
We will not put a time limit on changing a civil partnership
into a marriage. This will let people stay together if one person
changes their sex.
We will let people have a ceremony when they change their
civil partnership into a marriage if they want one. A ceremony
can only be held in a religious building if the religious group
agrees.
We will not let people change from a marriage to a civil
partnership as we do not think that this is needed.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Civil partnerships for oppositesex couples
At the moment, opposite-sex couples cannot become civil
partners. Only same-sex couples can become civil partners.
What we asked in the consultation
In the consultation we said the government is not thinking
about civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples. Do you agree
or disagree with this?
What people said
• 24 out of every 100 people who replied said that oppositesex couples should not be able to become civil partners.
• 61 out of every 100 people who replied said that oppositesex couples should be able to become civil partners.
• 15 out of every 100 people who replied said they did not
know or were not sure if opposite-sex couples should be
able to become civil partners.
Most people did not agree with us and thought that oppositesex couples should be able to become civil partners.
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Government Equalities Office
What the government says
Civil partnerships began in 2005. It changed things so that
the law treated the promises same-sex couples made to each
other in the same way as the promises made by opposite-sex
couples when they got married.
Civil partners have the same kind of rights and duties as
married couples.
Civil partnerships were not meant to be something that
opposite-sex couples could choose instead of marriage.
So, we do not think that we need to give opposite-sex couples
the choice between marriage or civil partnership.
Opposite-sex couples can have a civil marriage or a religious
marriage. We know that some opposite-sex couples do not
want to get married but that is their choice.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
The replies we got to the consultation do not say why it is
bad for opposite-sex couples not to be able to become civil
partners.
The consultation was not looking at making changes to the
law about marriage and civil partnership.
We do not think we need to give opposite-sex couples the
choice of becoming civil partners so that same-sex couples
can get married.
Transgender people
If a person’s sex is different from when they were born the law
says that they must get a gender recognition certificate.
At the moment, married people and civil partners must end
their marriage or civil partnership before they can get a full
gender recognition certificate.
This is because
• the law says same-sex couples cannot be married.
• the law says opposite-sex couples cannot be civil partners.
This can cause a lot of upset for transsexual people and
their partners, especially those who want to stay together as
married couples or civil partners. It can also cause problems
with pensions and benefit records.
We believe that if a couple want to stay together while one
person gets a gender recognition certificate we should not
stop them doing this.
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Government Equalities Office
What we asked in the consultation
In the consultation we said we want to make sure transsexual
people do not have to end a marriage if they want their sex to
be different from when they were born.
As the law is now, if a man and a woman are married and the
man wants his sex to be different from when he was born,
the couple must end their marriage, even if they want to stay
together. This is because the law does not allow same-sex
marriages.
But if we change the law, the man’s sex could become different
to when he was born and the couple could stay married as a
same-sex couple.
In the consultation we asked 2 questions about this.
• Question 12. If you are a married transsexual person, would
you want to stay married while you are getting a full gender
recognition certificate?
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Equal marriage – What the government says
• Question 13. If you are married to a transsexual person,
would you want to stay married while your partner is getting
a full gender recognition certificate?
What people said
Question 12
• 79 out of every 100 people who replied said they would want
to stay married while getting a gender recognition certificate.
• 7 out of every 100 people who replied said they would not
want to stay married while getting a gender recognition
certificate.
• 14 out of every 100 people who replied said they did not
know or were not sure if they would want to stay married
while getting a gender recognition certificate.
Question 13
• 79 out of every 100 people who replied said they would
want to stay married while their partner is getting a gender
recognition certificate.
• 7 out of every 100 people who replied said they would not
want to stay married while their partner is getting a gender
recognition certificate.
• 14 out of every 100 people who replied said they did not
know or were not sure if they would want to stay married
while their partner is getting a gender recognition certificate.
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Government Equalities Office
What the government says
We want to let people stay married if a partner wants their
sex to be different from when they were born.
Couples in a civil partnership would be able to change their
civil partnership into a marriage without ending their civil
partnership or losing any rights.
The process for getting a full gender recognition certificate will
not take into account whether the person is in a civil marriage
or a religious marriage.
If a person wants their sex to be different from when they were
born, the rights of their partner must be taken into account.
The partner will have to sign a form saying that they want to
stay married when their partner’s sex is different from when
they were born.
If the partner does not want to stay married they will be able
to end the marriage.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
We know that some couples have had to end their marriages
so that their partner can get a gender recognition certificate.
This may have had a bad effect on their benefits. We will not be
able to put right any bad effect on their benefits that happened
before any changes that happen because of this consultation.
For state pensions and work pensions we are going to treat
married same-sex couples as civil partners.
But we are going to make a rule that says if a married woman’s
husband gets a gender recognition certificate because his
sex is different from when he was born, the married woman
will still get a state pension based on her husband’s National
Insurance Contributions.
National Insurance Contributions
When you work you pay National Insurance Contributions
so that you can get some benefits.
The amount you pay depends on how much you earn and
whether you are employed or self-employed. You stop
paying when you get to state pension age.
We will carry on working with the gender recognition panel,
transsexual people’s groups and transsexual people’s partners
to make sure the new system works properly.
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Government Equalities Office
Marriage is one of the things that is looked after by the
devolved governments in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
So, for example, if a couple get married in Northern Ireland
they will not be able to stay married if one partner wants their
sex to be different from when they were born and get a gender
recognition certificate. The Scottish government is going to set
up its own rules.
Devolved governments
These are the governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and
Wales. The UK government has given devolved governments
the power to make some decisions for their own areas.
Other things
This is the last part of this booklet. It is about other things we
need to think about when we want to let same-sex couples
get married.
The way marriages and civil partnerships will
be carried out
In most cases, the way marriages and civil partnerships will
be carried out will stay the same as they are now.
The promises that are spoken as part of the marriage
ceremony will stay the same. But we will use the words
husband and husband or wife and wife for same-sex couples.
No one will be able to marry a close family member or get
married until they reach age 16.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
People can get married or enter into a civil partnership in British
buildings, called embassies, in other countries. This can only be
done if the other country agrees and they do not allow samesex marriages or civil partnerships in their countries. We do not
know yet which countries will allow this.
Devolved government
Marriage is one of the things that is looked after by the
devolved governments in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
This consultation only applied to England and Wales.
On 25 July 2012 the Scottish Government said it had plans to
allow same-sex couples to get married. We are going to work
closely with the Scottish Government to make sure our
2 systems for same-sex marriage work together.
Northern Ireland has no plans to allow same-sex marriage.
We think that any couples who get married in England or Wales
will be treated as civil partners in Northern Ireland.
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Government Equalities Office
Ending a marriage or civil partnership
At the moment, the law is different for ending marriages and
civil partnerships.
For example, a court can end a marriage if a married person
has a love affair with another person. But a civil partner cannot
use this as a reason to end a civil partnership.
We are going to change the law. Once same-sex couples can
get married the same rules will apply to all marriages.
But the law for ending civil partnerships will not change.
This only applies to same-sex marriages.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Other countries
When opposite-sex couples get married in another country
they are treated as being married in England and Wales.
But if same-sex couples get married in another country they
are treated as civil partners in England and Wales.
We are going to change the law so that
• same-sex couples who get married in another country will
be treated as a married couple in England and Wales.
• same-sex couples who enter into a civil partnership in
another country will be treated as civil partners in England
and Wales.
We know some other countries do not accept our civil
partnerships and they will not accept our same-sex marriages.
We will keep working to get more countries to accept same-sex
couples whether they are in a civil partnership or a marriage.
Some same-sex couples will get married in this country and
then go to live in another country. If they want to end their
marriage this can be hard if the country where they are living
does not accept that they are married. In these cases we will
allow those couples to end their marriage in this country.
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Government Equalities Office
Pensions
The government is working to get full equality across
state pensions for men and women whatever their sexual
orientation.
Sexual orientation
This is about whether a person is lesbian, gay, bisexual or
asexual.
Lesbian means a woman whose partner is a woman.
Gay means a man whose partner is a man.
Bisexual means someone who is attracted to men and women.
Asexual means someone who is not attracted to men or
women.
For state pensions and work pensions we are going to treat
married same-sex couples as civil partners.
The words we use
Some people were worried that we would stop using the words
husband and wife if we let same-sex couples get married.
We will not do this. Same-sex couples will be called husband
and husband or wife and wife. Opposite-sex couples will be
called husband and wife.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Free speech
We know that the holy books of many religions say that
marriage can only be between a man and a woman. We do
not want to change people’s religious beliefs and guidance.
We will make sure the law lets people talk about their belief
that only a man and a woman should get married.
But this does not mean that people are allowed to say bad
things about other people. This can lead to hate crime and
that is against the law.
Hate crime
This is when someone does something against the law to another
person because of hate or because they are different.
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Government Equalities Office
Learning in schools
Some people are worried that we will make teachers tell children
that same-sex couples can get married. Most of these people did
not agree with same-sex marriage.
Schools must not teach children about anything that does not
fit in with the child’s age, religion or culture. Children will get fair
advice about marriage.
Children who go to faith schools will be told about their religion’s
belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
But the teachers must also say that the law says that same-sex
couples can get married.
Parents
We support all families, including same-sex couples to be parents.
We think that same-sex couples can bring up children just as well
as opposite-sex couples.
Most people who replied to the consultation agree with this.
Health
A number of people who replied to the consultation said that
letting same-sex couples get married was good for their health.
In America, in the 12 months after same-sex couples were
allowed to get married, gay men went to see a doctor much
less often.
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Words list
Ceremony
This is an event where a group of people get together to
enjoy something special, such as a marriage. People often
say special words at a ceremony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Civil partnerships or civil partners
This is when two men or two women are in love and
make promises to each other so that the law sees them
as a couple. Civil partnership is not the same as marriage,
but civil partners get many of the same rights as married
people . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Civil marriages
These are marriages that are not made in a religious
building . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Consultation
This is when the Government asks what people think about
its plans, and for ideas about the best way of doing things . . 10
Devolved governments
These are the governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland
and Wales. The UK government has given devolved
governments the power to make some decisions for
their own areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44
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Government Equalities Office
Discrimination
This is when someone is treated unfairly because of
something. People are sometimes discriminated against
because of their age, because of the colour of their skin,
or because they have a disability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Equality
This means having the same chances in life as
everyone else . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Equality Act 2010
This is a law to make sure that all people are treated
fairly and equally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Gender recognition certificate
This is a certificate from a group of experts called a gender
recognition panel. The certificate says a person’s sex is
different from when they were born. The person uses this
to get a new birth certificate showing their new details . . . . . 15
Hate crime
This is when someone does something against the law
to another person because of hate or because they
are different . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
Lesbians are women who are attracted to other women.
Gay men are attracted to other men.
Bisexual people are attracted to men and to women.
Transgender people have changed their sex from being
a man to being a woman, or from being a woman to
being a man . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
National Insurance Contributions
When you work you pay National Insurance Contributions
so that you can get some benefits.
The amount you pay depends on how much you earn
and whether you are employed or self-employed.
You stop paying when you get to State Pension age . . . . . . . . 43
Opposite-sex couple
This is when a man and a woman are in love with
each other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Parliament
Parliament is where politicians, who are also called
Members of Parliament or MPs, meet to decide rules
and laws, and make decisions for the country. It is not
the same as government, which runs the country . . . . . . . . . . . 9
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Government Equalities Office
Registrar
This is someone the law allows to make civil marriages.
Registrars can make civil marriages in register offices,
approved places like hotels, in a person’s home or in
hospital if they are very ill, or in a prison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Religious marriages
These are marriages that made in a religious building. . . . . . . 13
Same-sex couple
This is when two men or two women are in love with
each other . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Sexual orientation
This is about whether a person is lesbian, gay, bisexual
or asexual.
Lesbian means a woman whose partner is a woman.
Gay means a man whose partner is a man.
Bisexual means someone who is attracted to men
and women.
Asexual means someone who is not attracted to men
or women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
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Equal marriage – What the government says
Society
Society means all the people and all parts of life in this
country. Being part of society can mean being accepted
and having your views listened to. It can mean being
able to live where you want, vote for a government, or
join a group. When people are accepted by others this
makes a good society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
State pension
This is money most people get when they retire. It is paid
out of money they pay to the government during their
working life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Transsexual people
These are people who feel they were born the wrong sex.
Such as someone who feels like they are a woman but they
were born as a boy, or someone who feels like they are a
man but they were born as a girl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
55
How to contact us
Email
[email protected] .gsi .gov .uk
Website
www .equalities .gov .uk
Letters
Government Equalities Office
3rd Floor Fry
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF
ISBN: 978-1-78246-037-4
Crown copyright 2013
Scarica

Consultation response: easy-read version